U.S. Delegation Puts Aerospace Jobs at the Forefront | Paris Air … – Aviation Week

In an effort to boost the exports of aerospace companies, the U.S.-based Aerospace Industries Association is talking numbers of something the American president would love—jobs.

Last year, aerospace and defense employment dipped by 0.6% to 2.42 million, led by job losses in the supply chain, the association reports. To reverse that trajectory, AIA will be at the Paris Air Show emphasizing the industry’s importance to trade in aerospace, cultivating new contacts and gaining support for policy changes to smooth exports. The U.S. is bringing a strong delegation led by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. About 350 U.S. companies, from 32 states, plan to exhibit at the show.

“This is about jobs,” says AIA President and CEO David Melcher. “This is a U.S.-based industry. Things that we manufacture, that go abroad, are good for jobs at home.”

Foreign trade has been a bright spot for the industry, with aerospace and defense exports reaching a record US$146 billion in 2016. The trade surplus was US$90.3 billion—the highest of any U.S. industry sector.

At Paris, AIA will be trying to expand on that success, building support among members and visiting politicians to lobby for the Export-Import Bank and improving the U.S. Foreign Military Sales process.

The Export-Import Bank could be providing export-credit financing to some US$30 billion in U.S. aerospace deals, but any deals involving more than US$10 million are in limbo until the bank’s board is fully staffed. In April, President Donald Trump appointed two Republican members of the board. However, they have not yet received a confirmation vote by the U.S. Senate. Even if they are approved, another member will have to be appointed, as the term of the board’s vice chairman will expire July 19.

And even though defense exports

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